Healing with Holy Basil
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum), also known as Tulsi throughout the Southeast Asian world, is perhaps one of my most favorite medicinal herbs to work with. The vibrant green and purple colors, the robust and exotic flavors and aromas, and the deep and profound healing effects it shares with us never cease to stir up great gratitude within my heart, and I’m excited to be sharing this herb with you today.
Drinking With A Goddess
Throughout India, Holy Basil varieties are grown in temples and homes- and they’re quite literally treated like a living Goddess. In modern Hindu tradition, Holy Basil is considered to be a manifestation of the Goddess Laxmi who took the form of this gorgeous plant to be close to her husband, Vishnu, when he descended to Earth in the form of Krishna to save people from a host of demons and corrupt leaders.
No offering to Vishnu is considered to be complete without the addition of a single Holy Basil leaf, such is his love of this plant and the Goddess who inhabits it.
Wherever Tulsi grows is considered to be a sacred place, and the energy of the plant is known to lift the vibrations of a space and cultivate a deep spiritual base as well as waves of healing energy.
With each sip of Holy Basil tea we are taking in the energies of this plant that are believed to help with imbalances from the physical to the spiritual.
The Healing Benefits Of Holy Basil
As an Herbalist, I work with Holy Basil most often as an adaptogen. This class of herbs helps protect us from the negative effects of stress while helping us to be calm, resilient, strong, and adaptable in the face of any challenge or stress that may come our way. Tulsi truly helps to soothe the nervous system while tonifying the endocrine and immune systems so that we can move through the stressors of life with grace and wellness.
For people who find that they are under a constant barrage of stress from the world around them or from the world inside them, Holy Basil may be a good plant ally to explore.
Here are some of the other uses of Holy Basil:
- Strong antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and enhance natural beauty by minimizing the effects of aging
- Neuroprotective that can help us stay sharp, smart, and alert as we age and as we go through periods of stress
- Protective against radiation
- Gently lowers blood sugar levels
- Helps protect against allergens and asthma symptoms
- Helps clear and heal the respiratory system
- Antibacterial and antiviral properties
- Helps decrease cholesterol levels
- Enhances memory and clarity while pushing away the fog that’s often associated with stress and anxiety
- Helpful in people who struggle with ADD and ADHD
- Gentle yet powerful anti-depressant
- Helps loosen and release emotions that are causing issues with health and wellness such as grief, resentment, and sadness
- Enhances qualities of goodness and spiritual power
- Pacifies Vata and Kapha, increases Pitta
Josh’s Holy Basil Adaptogen Sweet Tea
I love this simple herbal tea recipe – and the endless benefits it offers makes it one you’ll want to add to your wellness plan as well. You can create this tea warm or iced, and you can get creative by following the suggestions in the recipe, or just stick with the three base ingredients. This tea is sweet, savory, spicy, and aromatic- and instant mood lifter!
A ‘part’ is any measurement you choose. For example, 1 part might be 1 teaspoon or 1 Tablespoon. 2 parts would be 2 teaspoons or 2 cups. Any measurement you choose can be applied to the whole recipe. Make a little or a lot!
- 5 parts Holy Basil (This Krishna variety is my favorite)
- 1 part Licorice Root
- 1 part Astragalus Root
This is the base for this tea and these three herbs make a delicious healing brew. You can also experiment by adding any of the herbs below…
- Cardamom Pods
- Orange Peel
- Carob Nibs
- Goji Berries
- Amla Fruit
- Ginger Root
Combine all herbs. Steep 1 tablespoon in 8-10 ounces of boiled water for 8 minutes. Store remaining blend in an airtight jar away from light and heat. Pour over iced for a truly amazing summer treat!
References & Resources
Winston, David and Steven Maimes. Adaptogens. Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 2007. Print.
Dass, Vishnu. Ayurvedic Herbology. Twin Lakes: Lotus Press, 2013. Print